by ColoradoGuy, Mon Mar 17, 2008 at 08:20:03 AM EDT
by ColoradoGuy, Mon Mar 10, 2008 at 07:50:12 PM EDT
For those of you who aren't in caucus states, the mechanism of a caucus might seem strange (hell, it is for us too). But here's how it works. Caucus night, which is when the news networks pay attention, is only the first step. On that night, everyone shows up and somehow a rough count is done of who is for Obama, and who is for Clinton (usually by a volunteer tapping heads). That number is reported to the state party, which adds them all together and reports the results to the media. Within each precinct, proportionally sized delegations of people are chosen (actually elected by their peers) to attend the county conventions. But here's the kicker: Not everyone shows up to the county conventions who was chosen. In fact, many discover a previously unknown commitment and don't (it's a brutal multi-hour experience in the middle of the best ski season in recent memory and I wouldn't wish it on anyone). If the delegates don't show, alternates are allowed in and given a vote, often (and this depends on the county) first come first served and REGARDLESS OF WHOM THEY SUPPORT.
I was at my Adams County assembly last weekend. Obama won the county on caucus night 55-45, but at the assembly Clinton tied him. The same, I hear, is happening in other counties. Clinton actually still has a paid operation here working these county assemblies. At these county assemblies, delegates are chosen for the state convention, where, finally, the delegation to the national convention is chosen. So Adams county will be sending the same number of votes for Clinton as for Obama to the state convention. If, as anecdotally appears to be the case, Clinton does five points better at county than on caucus night, you could see her gaining several delegates that are currently being given to Obama. Potentially as many as 5-6. Most caucus states have similar systems, btw.
All I can say is (even as a Clinton supporter) what a friggin' way to pick a President.